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News | 5 ways to stick to your meal plan

 

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We’re all trying to live healthier lives, and one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle is eating a healthy diet. But that’s easier said than done, be- cause changing your eating habits is hard and many of us start off strong, but quickly fall back into old eating habits after a couple of weeks, even days. Here are five tips to help you to get into the habit of eating healthier, and stick- ing to it:

The best diet is a balanced diet
It seems that every year there’s a new diet that people claim will make you lose weight and be healthy, however, the popularity of these fad diets soon die down, only to be replaced by the next ‘best diet’. At the end of the day the best diet is still a balanced diet, because it has much greater longevity than fad diets that often require you to give up some type of food or the other. Following a healthy, balanced diet that includes food from all the basic food groups is not only by far the best option, it’s also the easiest to maintain. Just keep the size of your portions in check.

Planning & prep
One of the most common reasons why people fail to keep to their meal plans is time. When you get home after a long day it’s often easier just to order some take-aways than cook a meal – and even if you do decide to cook, your brain is too tired to think of something nice to make. This is where planning becomes important. Draw up a weekly meal plan of what you’re going to eat and when, but be flexible so you have some options if you should change your mind on the day. To make things easier on those days where the last thing you want to do is stand in front of the stove, makes extra portions when you do cook and freeze it. This way you can just take it out of the freezer and heat it up when you get home.

Your weekly shop
The first rule of shopping is don’t shop when you’re hungry. This is because when you’re hungry you tend to buy food items you don’t really need and of- ten those are not the healthiest options. When you do your planning, remember to make a list of the ingredients you need, and stick to that list. When you buy fruit, buy just enough to last you a week so you can have two for each day. The reason why this will help you stick to your meal plan is because if all the food in your house is healthy, then you won’t be tempted to snack on the unhealthy stuff.

Hunger or craving?
When you’re trying to follow a healthy meal plan you must learn to distinguish between when you’re hungry or when it’s just a craving. The same goes for eating when you’re feeling bored or a bit down. When you have a meal, finish what’s on your plate and don’t go for seconds, because usually that’s just a craving, so don’t let your brain trick you. If you really are still hungry, eat a piece of fruit. It’s easy to confuse hunger with cravings, but the longer you stick to the plan, the more in-tune you will get to what your body needs, and how much of it.

Set a reminder
Every time you gaze longingly at that chocolate at the checkout counter, or walk past the pizza place where you can just smell the deliciousness being cooked up inside, just remind yourself why you’re following a healthy eating plan in the first place. Also remind yourself just how far you’ve come on your healthy eating adventure. If you stick it out with a healthy meal plan for a couple of weeks or months, you’ll soon start losing that craving for fast foods and sweets and your body will start craving healthy stuff, like green veggies or apples. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a pizza or a burger every now and again – just don’t make a habit of it.

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